Protesters at a « Cancel Student Debt » rally outside the US Department of Education in Washington on April 4, 2022. (Photo by STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)
(CNSNews.com) – « Canceling student loan debt is something that would be good for people all across this country, and, more importantly, good for our economy overall, » leftist Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) told « Face the Nation » on Sunday.
It might also be good for Democrats eyeing losses in the midterm election, Warren indicated: « As Democrats, we need to deliver. We need to hit costs head-on, » she said.
« And we have the power to do that. We’ve got less than 200 days left, though. And instead of looking backwards, let’s look forward. Let’s get done what we can get done for the American people who elected us, for the American people who are counting on us. »
At the White House on Monday, Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked if the Biden administration agrees with Warren on debt cancellation:
« What I would tell you is that not a single person in this country has paid a dime on student — federal student loans since the president took office, » Psaki said. « And what we have said is that he (President Biden) would make a decision about any cancellation of student debt before the conclusion of that pause on student loans.
« But I don’t have anything to preview for you at this point in time, » Psaki added.
Warren told CBS that loan forgiveness is a matter of « racial equity, » and Psaki said the president agrees with that:
« Yes, it is a racial equity issue, » Psaki said on Monday, « but (it) is also an issue that impacts many individuals, young people, middle-aged people of all races. It is something that he has — he has played — has been a vital priority to the president, which, again, is why not — not a single person has…paid a penny, a dime — a dime or a penny in student loans since he took office. »
President Donald Trump signed a moratorium on student loan repayments on March 2020, when the COVID pandemic took hold, and President Biden has extended that repayment moratorium several times, most recently on April 6.
In his April 6 order, Biden noted that on his first day in office, « I directed the Department of Education to pause federal student loan repayments through September of that year.
« At the time, our economy was barely growing. Fewer than 1 percent of Americans were fully vaccinated. Millions of Americans were struggling to stay afloat. Because of that pause in repayments, 41 million Americans were able to breathe a little easier during some of the toughest days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
« Today, America is stronger than we were a year ago, » he said. « However…we are still recovering from the pandemic and the unprecedented economic disruption it caused. If loan payments were to resume on schedule in May, analysis of recent data from the Federal Reserve suggests that millions of student loan borrowers would face significant economic hardship, and delinquencies and defaults could threaten Americans’ financial stability.
« Accordingly, to enable Americans to continue to get back on their feet after two of the hardest years this nation has ever faced, my Administration is extending the pause on federal student loan repayments through August 31st, 2022. That additional time will assist borrowers in achieving greater financial security and support the Department of Education’s efforts to continue improving student loan programs. As part of this transition, the Department of Education will offer additional flexibilities and support for all borrowers.
« I’m asking all student loan borrowers to work with the Department of Education to prepare for a return to repayment, look into Public Service Loan Forgiveness, and explore other options to lower their payments. Vice President Harris and I are focused on supporting borrowers in need, and believe that this pause will provide a continued lifeline as we recover and rebuild from the pandemic. »
President Biden has said he would sign a bill, if Congress sends him one, cancelling up to $10,000 in student loans per borrower. So far, he opposes the push to wipe out all student loan debt.
Loan forgiveness ignores tuition gouging
Republicans on House Education and Labor Committee argue that « blanket student loan forgiveness is not a solution. »
In a March 1 message, the committee Republicans wrote:
« This administration cares more about appeasing the progressive wing of the Democrat party than offering solutions to address the rising cost of college. Americans don’t need quick fixes and snappy soundbites—Americans need meaningful reform. The federal student loan system must evolve so that it stops providing incentives for colleges and universities to raise the cost of tuition.
“Instead of advocating for sensible policy solutions, Democrats are pushing radical student loan forgiveness schemes. Blanket forgiveness would compound the nation’s 40-year-high inflation rate, while disproportionately benefiting high-income borrowers — the very people who least need help and are reaping the benefits of the postsecondary education taxpayers provided them.
« It also does nothing for future borrowers as it ignores the systemic problems plaguing the student loan program that created the vicious debt spiral and tuition-bubble we have today. President Biden and radical progressives have nothing to say to the thousands of students taking on education debt the day after forgiveness hits other than ‘good luck.’
« Reckless loan forgiveness policies are a short-sighted answer that would crush American taxpayers and leave our higher education system more broken than before. »
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